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Garcia Wins 1st Arbitration Case

February 2, 2000

DETROIT (AP) _ A few hours after outfielder Karim Garcia beat the Tigers in the first salary arbitration, Detroit avoided a hearing with catcher Gregg Zaun by agreeing to a $525,000, one-year contract.

A three-man panel chose Garcia’s $700,000 request instead of the team’s $470,000 offer. It was the first time since 1996 a player won the first arbitration case of the season.

Garcia, 24, hit .240 last year with 14 homers and 32 RBIs in 288 at-bats and made $270,000.

The decision was made by arbitrators Robert Light, Richard Kasher and Jack Clarke, who heard arguments Tuesday.

Zaun, obtained from the Texas Rangers in the deal that brought Juan Gonzalez to Detroit, can earn an additional $140,000 in performance bonuses.

As a backup to Ivan Rodriguez, Zaun hit .247 with one homer and 12 RBIs last season, when he earned $450,000. He had asked for $625,000 and the Tigers had offered $475,000.

Shortstop Deivi Cruz and left-hander C.J. Nitkowski remain in arbitration.

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